8 responses

  1. Amy
    February 28, 2012

    True and interesting! Many younger peole also choose to stop learning, which is unfortunate.

    • Robert Chen
      February 28, 2012

      yea, the great thing is a person can always start learning again if they choose. Just have to shake off the rust. The longer you stop learning, the more rust that needs to be shaken off

  2. MarianC
    November 19, 2012

    You bring up a great point, encouraging older adults to actively engage in learning new things is important. There are psychological, social, and biological benefits to learning new things, such as, memory improvement, social interaction, and reduced risk of depression. I believe we are always learning new things, even if we have not made the conscious decision to do so. For example, every time you turn on the news you learn something new. I realize that this may not be as stimulating or require as much participation as other forms of learning but the information they are processing is new. We do not lose our ability to learn if we decide to stop learning (which I personally feel is not possible in normal aging). Losing your ability to learn is pathological and not part of the normal aging process. Healthcare professionals should encourage older adults to remain actively involved in learning and educate them on the benefits of doing so.

    • Robert Chen
      November 20, 2012

      Thanks for your comment Marian. Older people can learn and need to be encouraged, even pressured, to do so. We should not allow them to use age as an excuse and keep our expectations for them high. I find that people usually step up to your expectations if they know you are sincere.

  3. Will
    November 12, 2013

    but how do we get them to understand that they are not willing to learn? if they do not have any mental illness, senile or whatnot, then there is ZERO reason to stop learning!!!

    • Robert Chen
      November 16, 2013

      Will,

      I completely agree with you that it is always better to continuous learn. As for getting others to see that and change, it’s much tougher. People do what they do because they receive a positive benefit from it. Perhaps they stop learning because they associate it with unpleasant memories from their past – think of how happy you were when you didn’t need to cram for school anymore. One way to get people to understand the benefits of learning is perhaps to show them examples of people they look up to who are still learning and leading lives that they aspire to live.

  4. Ricky
    April 5, 2014

    I was searching for this topic and came across your site. Great article! Completely agree. I work in a cell phone shop where honestly a bunch of elderly folk purchase smart phones and just can’t seem to ever grasp certain concepts. The problem is they expect to do everything too quick and don’t understand that the young people who are “so smart” with things like technology spent years tinkering and learning the basics before being able to do much more things. They are honestly just being lazy about it. I’ve seen plenty if older people learn things really fast that they’ve never done before.

    It’s all about attitude and willingness to learn.

    Think of how motivated you are as a kid to learn and explore. Somewhere along the lines we focus on careers and being content and satisfied and lose sight on what makes us curious and what we want to find out. State of mind!

    • Robert Chen
      April 11, 2014

      Great point Ricky – it is all about state of mind and the willingness to put in the time to acquire new skills. I think with older people, the fear of failure becomes greater since many of them have stopped acquiring new skills. They don’t even try because they don’t want to look dumb. It’s all about having that beginner’s mind. Thanks for sharing your insight and the nice example.

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